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Book Club Questions for Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano

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finlay donovan rolls the dice discussion guide

Book club questions for Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano covers all the major themes and topics in this engaging literary fiction novel.

If you’re a fan of Finley Donovan series, this latest book won’t disappoint. My friends and I were hooked from the first chapter, eagerly anticipating what would happen next. And let me tell you, it kept us guessing right until the very end! It’s a shame we have to wait a whole year for the next installment!

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano

Book club discussions may delve into the complexities of morality, the consequences of deception, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Readers can explore the ethical dilemmas faced by the characters, such as the choices they make under pressure and the moral grey areas they navigate in pursuit of their goals.

About the Author | Book Club Questions | Additional Recommendations

About the Story

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice follows the story of a woman named Finlay Donovan and her partner-in-crime, Vero, who plan a girls’ weekend in Atlantic City. However, their trip takes a dangerous turn when they find themselves negotiating with a loan shark, trying to save Vero’s crush, and searching for a stolen car. With unexpected guests tagging along, including Finlay’s ex-husband and mother, the situation becomes even more complicated.

As they delve deeper into their mission, they discover a murder, leaving them as suspects with a lot to lose. With police on their tail and personal issues mounting, Finlay must navigate through the chaos to save herself and her loved ones. But will she be able to keep her secrets hidden, or will she be forced to confront the truth?”

Release date: March 5, 2024
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: ‎Minotaur Books

About the Author

elle cosimano author

Elle Cosimano is a bestselling author known for her thrilling novels. She’s achieved New York Times and USA Today bestseller status, won an International Thriller Award, and been nominated for an Edgar® Award. Her young adult books, including Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm, have earned high praise.

Elle spent her childhood in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Her parents were an intriguing mix: her father was a warden at a maximum-security prison, while her mother, who rode a Harley, taught elementary school. To ensure accuracy in her writing, Elle regularly participates in the Writers’ Police Academy at Guilford Technical Community College, Department of Public Safety, engaging in hands-on research for her books.

Elle’s debut adult novel, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, launched a fast-paced mystery series that’s been a hit with readers and critics alike. It was even chosen by PEOPLE Magazine and the New York Public Library as one of the best books of 2021. Besides her fiction, Elle’s essays have appeared in respected publications like The Huffington Post and Time.

Book Club Questions for Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

  1. The Finlay Donovan series is known for its humor and over-the-top situations. How did you find the balance between humor and suspense in this installment compared to the previous books in the series?
  2. Finlay and Vero have a unique dynamic as friends, partners-in-crime, and caregiver/nanny. How does their relationship evolve throughout this book, and what do you think drives their loyalty to each other?
  3. One of the recurring elements in the series is Finlay’s romantic involvement with Nick, the hot cop. How does their relationship develop in this installment, and what challenges do they face as a couple?
  4. Finlay grapples with feelings of impostor syndrome throughout the book, not only in her role as a writer but also in other aspects of her life. What are some examples of situations where Finlay experiences self-doubt or insecurity beyond her identity as an author? How do these instances contribute to the overarching theme of impostor syndrome in the story?
  5. Women supporting and helping each other is a recurring theme in the narrative, demonstrated in various settings such as the strip club and Romelda’s shop. Can you identify instances where women come together to assist one another throughout the story? How do these examples reinforce the theme of female solidarity and empowerment in the book?
  6. In the climactic moments of the story, Finlay relies on the assistance of two formidable women, despite her uncertainties about their trustworthiness. Were you surprised by the women Finlay seeks help from? What factors do you think influenced their decisions to aid Finlay? How much of a risk is it for Finlay to involve them in her plans, and do you believe she anticipated their willingness to assist her?
  7. Elle Cosimano introduces various shady characters, including loan sharks, mobsters, and corrupt cops, in this novel. Which character or group did you find the most intriguing, and why?
  8. Throughout the series, Finlay often finds herself in improbable situations where she must navigate danger and deception. How does her character handle these challenges, and what strengths or weaknesses does she display in dealing with them?
  9. Initially, Finlay opposes Vero’s suggestion of resorting to violence to rescue Javi, preferring negotiation instead. At what point in the narrative does Finlay’s stance on using force evolve? How does Finlay navigate between taking decisive action and using her words to resolve conflicts throughout the story?
  10. Romelda the psychic makes predictions that seem to align with events in Finlay and Vero’s journey. Do you think Romelda genuinely possesses the ability to foresee the future, or do you interpret her predictions as coincidences interpreted by Finlay and Vero after the fact?
  11. When Javi reunites with Vero, he reveals his past decisions driven by shame and feelings of unworthiness. Which other characters in the story conceal their mistakes from loved ones, and how do their choices affect their relationships? Do you agree with their decisions to hide the truth? Why or why not?
  12. The book blends elements of mystery, thriller, and comedy. Were there any specific scenes or moments that stood out to you as particularly suspenseful, humorous, or surprising?
  13. This novel explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the consequences of past actions. How do these themes manifest in the characters’ choices and interactions throughout the story?
  14. During the trip to Atlantic City, Finlay becomes aware of her mother Susan’s marital troubles. Do you believe the trip had a positive impact on Susan? What insights into Susan’s fears, regrets, or desires regarding her children’s relationships can be gleaned from her interactions during the trip?
  15. Steven undergoes a transformation while caring for the children in Atlantic City. What do you think he learns from this experience? How do his revelations about partnership and co-parenting contribute to his character development?
  16. Nick shares his thoughts about trust and betrayal with Finlay, implying suspicions about her involvement in certain events. Why do you think Nick chooses not to confront Finlay directly despite his suspicions? What might his actions reveal about his feelings towards Finlay and their relationship?
  17. Finlay’s ex-husband, Steven, plays a significant role in this installment, accompanying them on their trip to Atlantic City. How does his presence impact Finlay’s decisions and actions throughout the story, particularly in relation to her feelings of guilt and responsibility?
  18. Vero’s past and her connection to Javi add layers to her character and motivations. How does Vero’s backstory influence her actions and decisions in “Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice,” and how does her relationship with Javi evolve over the course of the book?
  19. The book introduces new characters, such as Marco and Ike, who are connected to Vero’s past and the central conflict of the story. How do these characters contribute to the unfolding mystery, and what insights do they provide into Vero’s character development?
  20. Family dynamics play a significant role in Finlay’s life, especially with the unexpected presence of her ex-husband and her mother during their trip. How do these familial relationships influence Finlay’s decisions and her sense of identity throughout the story?
  21. Finlay’s skills as a crime novelist often come into play as she navigates dangerous situations and devises plans to outsmart her adversaries. How does her background as a writer inform her approach to solving problems and uncovering the truth?
  22. The setting of Atlantic City adds a unique backdrop to the story, with its seedy casinos and underworld connections. How does the setting contribute to the atmosphere and tone of the narrative, and what role does it play in shaping the characters’ experiences and actions?
  23. As the series progresses, the relationship between Finlay and Vero evolves. How has their dynamic grown and changed over the course of the books? Considering their individual romantic pursuits and personal developments, how do you envision their relationship evolving in the future?
  24. This novel is filled with unexpected twists and turns, culminating in a suspenseful and action-packed climax. What were the most surprising or memorable moments for you, and how did they impact your perception of the characters and the overall storyline?
  25. Without giving away spoilers, what are your expectations for the next installment in the Finlay Donovan series based on the events of this book? What unresolved questions or plotlines would you like to see addressed in future novels?

Additional Recommendations

The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County by Claire Swinarski

Armed with a Crock-Pot and a pile of recipes, a grandmother, her granddaughter, and a mysterious young man work to bring a community together in this uplifting novel for readers of The Chicken Sisters.

Esther Larson has been cooking for funerals in the Northwoods of Wisconsin for seventy years. Known locally as the “funeral ladies,” she and her cohort have worked hard to keep the mourners of Ellerie County fed—it is her firm belief that there is very little a warm casserole and a piece of cherry pie can’t fix. But, after falling for an internet scam that puts her home at risk, the proud Larson family matriarch is the one in need of help these days.

Iris, Esther’s whip-smart Gen Z granddaughter, would do anything for her family and her community. As she watches her friends and family move out of their lakeside town onto bigger and better things, Iris wonders why she feels so left behind in the place she is desperate to make her home. But when Cooper Welsh shows up, she finally starts to feel like she’s found the missing piece of her puzzle.

Cooper is dealing with becoming a legal guardian to his younger half-sister after his beloved stepmother dies. While their celebrity-chef father is focused on his booming career and top-ranked television show, Cooper is still hurting from a public tragedy he witnessed last year as a paramedic and finding it hard to cope. With Iris in the gorgeous Ellerie County, though, he hopes he might finally find the home he’s been looking for.

It doesn’t seem like a community cookbook could possibly solve their problems, especially one where casseroles have their own section and cream of chicken soup mix is the most frequently used ingredient. But when you mix the can-do spirit of Midwestern grandmothers with the stubborn hope of a boy raised by food plus a dash of long-awaited forgiveness—things might just turn out okay.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

New York Times bestselling author Xochitl Gonzalez delivers a mesmerizing novel about a first-generation Ivy League student who uncovers the genius work of a female artist decades after her suspicious death

1985. Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in New York City; her tragic death is the talk of the town. Until it isn’t. By 1998 Anita’s name has been all but forgotten―certainly by the time Raquel, a third-year art history student is preparing her final thesis. On College Hill, surrounded by privileged students whose futures are already paved out for them, Raquel feels like an outsider. Students of color, like her, are the minority there, and the pressure to work twice as hard for the same opportunities is no secret.

But when Raquel becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she finds herself unexpectedly rising up the social ranks. As she attempts to straddle both worlds, she stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist.

Moving back and forth through time and told from the perspectives of both women, Anita de Monte Laughs Last is a propulsive, witty examination of power, love, and art, daring to ask who gets to be remembered and who is left behind in the rarefied world of the elite.

The Hunter by Tana French

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Searcher and “one of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox), a spellbinding new novel set in the Irish countryside.

It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in a small village in the West of Ireland. One of them is coming home. Both of them are coming to get rich. One of them is coming to die.

Cal Hooper took early retirement from Chicago PD and moved to rural Ireland looking for peace. He’s found it, more or less: he’s built a relationship with a local woman, Lena, and he’s gradually turning Trey Reddy from a half-feral teenager into a good kid going good places. But then Trey’s long-absent father reappears, bringing along an English millionaire and a scheme to find gold in the townland, and suddenly everything the three of them have been building is under threat. Cal and Lena are both ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey, but Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge.

From the writer who is “in a class by herself,” (The New York Times), a nuanced, atmospheric tale that explores what we’ll do for our loved ones, what we’ll do for revenge, and what we sacrifice when the two collide.

Happy reading! ❤️